CNN host Jake Tapper seemingly turned on Joe Biden on Sunday, saying that it is “shocking” that the president could be so wrong when he said it was “highly unlikely” the Taliban would quickly take over Afghanistan.
“Weeks before the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the deadline of President Biden’s complete withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban having seized much of that country they’re now at the gates of the capital city of Kabul,” Tapper said. “Their representatives are meeting with leadership inside the Afghan presidential palace. The rapid crumbling of the country has caught the Biden White House flat-footed.”
“On Saturday, after pulling out almost all of the 2500 service members there when he took office, President Biden said he would deploy more than more U.S. troops, 5,000 now total for the limited mission of getting Americans and others fleeing safely out of Kabul,” he added. “Warning of a, quote, swift and strong U.S. response if the Taliban interfere. With the constant thereon of helicopters, overhead sources tell CNN this morning a total of Americans from our embassy in Kabul is well underway and should be completed by Tuesday.”
“That is, of course, a sharp turn-around from six weeks ago when President Biden called it highly unlikely that the Taliban would overrun the country, an assessment that even at the time struck many experts in Biden’s own administration as unrealistic,” Tapper continued. “And now, as American diplomats rush to shred embassy documents and escape, it seems shocking that President Biden could have been so wrong.”
Also on Sunday, Tapper confronted Secretary of State Antony Blinken, asking if Biden deserves blame for his handling of troop withdrawals.
“I think, again, the issue here is not just the withdrawal of U.S. forces, it’s how they were withdrawn,” Tapper said, according to Newsweek. “The rapidity, the hastiness…Does President Biden not bear the blame for this disastrous exit from Afghanistan?”
“We’ve known all along, said all along—including the president—that the Taliban was at its greatest position of strength at any time since 2001 when it was last in charge of [Afghanistan],” Blinken replied. “That is the Taliban that we inherited. And so we saw that they are very much capable of going on the offensive and beginning to take back the country.
“But, at the same time, we had invested, over four [presidential] administrations, billions of dollars, along with the international community, in the Afghan security and defense forces,” he continued. “Building a modern military with sophisticated equipment, 300,000 forces strong, with an air force that the Taliban didn’t have. And the fact of the matter is, we have seen that that force has been unable to defend the country. And that has happened more quickly than we anticipated.”